As scientists around the world race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 and even a cure, a drug heavily pushed by the president doesn’t seem to be a front runner.
Back in March, we met an infectious disease doctor from North Dakota on the frontlines looking for a cure to coronavirus, studying the drug hydroxychloroquine and its effects on people that contract the virus.
“Since March we completed two randomized controlled trials. One was hydroxychloroquine being able to treat COVID-19 disease and the other was looking at hydroxychloroquine as post-exposure prophylaxis, meaning trying to prevent developing disease after getting exposed,” said Dr. Caleb Skipper, University of Minnesota.
President Donald Trump has been a long time supporter of the drug, even after some of the countries top health experts said otherwise, like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“Hydroxy has tremendous support, but politically it’s toxic because I supported it. If I would have said, ‘Do not use hydroxychloroquine under any circumstances,’ they would have come out and they would have said, ‘It’s a great– it’s a great thing,'” said Trump.
Dr. Fauci recently shared that a study using hydroxychloroquine at The Henry Ford Hospital, and many others have not shown success. The same is for Dr. Skipper and his team at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Skipper added, “Both trials found essentially the same thing. Hydroxychloroquine was not able to effectively either prevent the progression of the disease, compared to placebo or prevent disease after exposure.”
Dr. Skipper says that doesn’t mean the drug can’t be used to fight the virus at all, just not on a universal scale. Instead, it may be effective in certain populations, like healthcare workers who could take the drug and it would prevent them from ever getting it.
He says although they weren’t able to find a cure, others are working hard for vaccines to end the pandemic.
Dr. Skipper says other medications are being looked at that could cure COVID-19.